Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Essentials: Part Two

Food was a little more difficult.. my fully-stocked pantry will not be joining me (customs restrictions would mean considerable delays, and many things like flour/rice/grains/spices are simply prohibited), so I’m faced with the prospect of re-building this from scratch. Where to start? I had to give serious thought to priorities, so I could pick up a few things each week without blowing the budget.

First priority:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice
  • Cooking oil (I use rice bran oil)

I can get by for awhile on fresh fruit and veg with soy sauce. A few extras have found their way in over the past two weeks:

My pantry.
Spaghetti, Soba, Baby gnocchi (because it’s cute), a jar of tomato/cashew pesto, white rice, crackers, sweet potatoes, balsamic vinegar, sesame oil, stock cubes (beef & chicken), fruit, spreads, cereal, LSA mix, and sugar. And three different single-malt whiskeys. They’re essential, right?

Also a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes, flour and rolled oats (porridge) which I forgot to move from the lower shelf.

My fridge. It’s this clean because I’ve only been here two weeks. Give it time.

Yoghurt, Hummus (cute little individual-serve packages), Greek yoghurt (for cooking), butter, cheese (I work for a dairy company)
Crushed garlic (I prefer fresh, but use the pre-crushed stuff for less critical dishes and sauces), tomato paste, herb mixes (lazy, and I don’t have a garden here!), oyster sauce, soy sauce, and pasta sauce

The rest of my fridge.

NZ sauvignon blanc (It was on special and I’m citing homesickness), Baileys (OK, no excuse for that), eggs, meat (split into single portions and frozen if I don’t get to it before use-by)
Red onions (I love the colour), carrots, broccoli, and a giant bag of snow peas. I love snow-peas, and they’re local here. I hate buying them in NZ when they’re grown in Africa!

And.. the freezer. No secrets here, I’m showing you the whole kitchen!

This is already pretty well stocked, and is a huge time saver:
Half a jar of pasta sauce. I’ll admit that there’s a small tub of icecream hiding behind this. Bread (I use a slice or two a week, so this lives in the freezer), and single-serve portions in zip-lock bags of tortellini, cooked rice, marinara sauce, and seafood marinara.
Chicken fillet, chicken bones for stock, raw prawns, frozen veges, and a box of wonton noodle soup in case I just can’t be bothered cooking.

I’m cutting a few more corners here than I would normally, but to be perfectly honest I just can’t be bothered making some of the basics from scratch after a long day at work when there’s no-one else here to notice. I’m focussing more on healthy food that happens quickly so I can relax, and varying the veges I buy for different flavour and texture rather than the style of food.

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